Team Effort Leads Bulls to Win on MLK Day (Chicago, IL) – After breaking their losing streak on Sunday against the Mavs, the Bulls (5-8) hoped to beat the Rockets (4-7) on MLK Day. Otto Porter Jr. and Patrick Williams did not play in this game for Chicago. Garrett Temple took Williams’ spot in the starting lineup.
Victor Oladipo will be playing in his first game with Houston, he was traded for the new Pacers guard, Caris Levert. Oladipo was averaging 20 points per game with the Pacers, so the Bulls’ defense will have to contain him. Also, Christian Wood is having the best season of his career for Houston, averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Bulls lead by double digits at half for 3rd consecutive game
The Rockets turned the ball over seven times in the first 7 minutes. This helped the Bulls gain a 15-10 lead with 5 minutes left in the 1st. Fortunately, Chicago played stout defense on Wood to start the game, holding him to 3 points and two offensive fouls. The Bulls led 28-16 going into the 2nd quarter, which is the fewest points they have given up in a quarter all season.
Chicago increased their lead to 34-17 within the first minute of the 2nd. Houston quickly responded with a 9-0 run to make it 34-26 with 10 minutes left. Zach Lavine started slow but hit his first two field goals of the game with 5 minutes left in the 2nd. This gave the Bulls a 52-38 lead.
The Bulls led by 17 twice in the second quarter. Wood and Oladipo combined for 22 points in the quarter to keep them within striking distance. The Bulls led 64-52 going into the 2nd half, with their 22-10 advantage in bench scoring making the difference.
Lavine weathers the storm for the Bulls
Temple hit a three to start the half for the Bulls. Oladipo scored 7 quick points to lead Houston to a 16-4 run. The Rockets trailed 71-68 with 7 minutes left in the 3rd, the closest margin of the game since the 1st quarter. Lauri Markannen responded with five unanswered points to give the Bulls some breathing room. They led 76-68 with 6 minutes left in the 3rd. Lavine scored 14 in the quarter for Chicago, leading them to a 93-86 advantage going into the 4th.
Markannen seals the win
The Bulls regained a double-digit lead at 107-95 with 6.5 minutes left in 4th, behind a three-pointer from Coby White. Houston responded with an 11-4 run, to shrink the Bulls lead to 111-106 with three minutes left. Late in the game, Wood hit two free throws for Houston to make the score 116-113 with one minute left. Markannen hit a three the next possession, which ended up sealing the game. The Bulls won 125-120
Wood and Oladipo gave the Bulls all they could handle, as they combined to score 64 points. Lavine led the way for Chicago with 33 points and 7 assists. The Bulls bench also contributed 41 points in the win.
Houston (4-8) will play the Suns (7-5) next in Phoenix, on Wednesday at 8:30pm CT.
The Bulls (6-8) will play the Hornets (6-8) next in Charlotte, on Friday at 6:00pm CT.
Team Effort Leads Bulls to Win on MLK Day